Still Pumped from FanFest — and the Series!

MLB.com Blogs Usher:

The Giants’ Gregor Blanco reflects on winning his second World Series this past fall and tells how his appearance at FanFest has him excited to defend that title in 2015. One of the things that makes our community great is pros like Gregor blogging right alongside fans.

Originally posted on White Shark:

I just got back to the hotel from FanFest and I’m still amazed by how many fans came out to see us even with the rain and everything! I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see soooo many people wearing Giants shirts and hats — and so happy!

Sometimes it still seems like the World Series was a dream. I was invited to speak Thursday at an event for team sponsors, and in the introduction they played a clip of my lead-off homer in Game 2. I watched it and thought, “Wow, I really did that.’’ I kind of need the evidence to remind myself it was all real.

Everywhere I went in the off-season people asked, “How are you guys so good?’’ I’d say, “I don’t know. We just play baseball. We try to just win that game on that day no matter what.’’

People always ask…

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From the Pages of Vine Line: Q&A with new hitting coach John Mallee

Mark Newman:

The Cubs Vine Line Blog Mallee sat down for a wide-ranging question-and-answer session this offseason with their new hitting coach. Get an idea why John Mallee might have been born to do the job.

Originally posted on Cubs Vine Line Blog:

Mallee_Intro_Image_V4

Say hello to John Mallee, the Cubs’ new hitting coach. Or, technically speaking, say hello to him again. The Cubs announced the 45-year-old as their new hitting coach on Oct. 9, replacing Bill Mueller, who resigned the post shortly after the season ended. Even though most people don’t know it, this is not Mallee’s first go-round with the club.

“He’s somebody we know well,” said Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. “We actually hired him a couple years ago to be our minor league hitting coordinator. We were very disappointed [when] four days later, he joined Bo Porter’s staff to be major league hitting coach for the Astros.

“John’s got a great reputation. He’s done this job before and done it well with a lot of young hitters and got results. He’s a knowledgeable, energetic, passionate, true worker. Hopefully he’ll fit in well with the rest of the staff…

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Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend

MLB.com Blogs Usher:

The Baseball Books blog features Paul Hagen’s review of a new book on Twins legend Tony Oliva by Thom Henninger. Be sure to follow that blog for the latest reviews of books for baseball fans!

Originally posted on Baseball Books:

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

tonyolivaTony Oliva is undergoing a sort of post-career revival. Back in December, the Veterans Committee came one vote shy of electing him to the Hall of Fame. Now comes Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend by Thom Henninger.

The timing is both coincidental and fortuitous, and there’s another parallel between and present and past at work here. With the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, which was preceded by the instant impact of stars like Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu, the subject of Cuban players in the Major Leagues is back in the headlines.

Click here to read the full article

Buy Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend

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Hank Aaron Celebrating Birthday No. 81 Today

MLB.com Blogs Usher:

Happy 81st birthday to Hammerin’ Hank!

Originally posted on Dazzy Vance Chronicles:

Chris Evans photo/ Hank Aaron is baseball's all-time leader in RBI and total bases.  For many, he remains the home run king. Chris Evans photo/ Hank Aaron is baseball’s all-time leader in RBI and total bases. For many, he remains the home run king.

By Glen Sparks

Happy birthday, Henry Aaron. Hammerin’ Hank turns 81 today. The great slugger is No. 2 on baseball’s all-time home run list, or still No. 1, depending on your point of view. Nonetheless, this is a look at Aaron in 10 bullet points:

  • Born Feb. 5, 1934, in Mobile, Ala., Aaron played 23 seasons in the major leagues (1954-76). He hit 755 career home runs, 733 in the National League for the Braves (both the Milwaukee and Atlanta versions) and 22 for the then-American League Milwaukee Brewers.
  • The Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues signed Aaron on Nov. 20, 1951. He played three months for the Clowns in 1952 and was the last Negro League player to be on a Major League roster.
  • Aaron never hit…

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The 2015 Colorado Rockies Fantasy Camp is underway!

MLB.com Blogs Usher:

Rockies Fantasy Camp is under way, and the team’s blog documenting the experience is a great way to get a taste of what’s going on Scottsdale.

Originally posted on Colorado Rockies Fantasy Camp Blog:

The first day of 2015 Fantasy Camp is in the books with only one team of the five teams going to bed with the distinct honor of being 1-0.

The morning started with the camp crew – 58 campers plus coaches and staffers – at Denver International Airport with snow falling during the 28 degree morning. After a lengthy de-icing prior to take off, the group landed in Phoenix to a pleasant high-70s and crystal clear skies. After a lunch, group introductions and a camp photo, everyone headed to the clover leaf fields for a skills session. Coaches used this time for scouting purposes. Following the skills portion, there was a one hour scrimmage between campers.

Once the scrimmage ended, everyone came inside for dinner. It was this time that the coaches headed to the draft room and picked their teams. Following the draft, team rosters were announced for the…

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Close-But-Not-Quite-Top-100 Prospects To Watch

MLB.com Blogs Usher:

Very fortunate to have Jim Callis here in the MLB.com/blogs community, so take a look at his new entry about other prospects who weren’t quite able to crack the Top 100. Then blog alongside Jim & other PRO bloggers at http://MLB.com/blogs

Originally posted on Callis' Corner:

We released the MLBPipeline.com Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, and as always, there wasn’t enough room to include everyone I like. With that in mind, I’ve listed below (alphabetically) 20 more prospects who have caught my eye, some of whom made my personal Top 100 but couldn’t crack the official list once I combined my choices with Jonathan Mayo’s and we got feedback from industry sources.

A year ago, I identified 15 prospects as the Cream Of The Not-Quite-Top-100 Crop. That group included Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford, Reds outfielder Jesse Winker, who have soared all the way to Nos. 21 and 26 on the current Top 100.

Ozhaino Albies, ss, Braves. A younger version of Jose Peraza — with a stronger arm that would enhance his chances of staying at shortstop if Andrelton Simmons weren’t in Atlanta — who hit .364/.446/.444 when he made his U.S. debut at…

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Beyond the Top 10 by position lists

MLB.com Blogs Usher:

The MLB Pipeline Top 100 is unveiled Friday night at 9 p.m. ET on both MLB.com and MLB Network, and Jonathan Mayo goes beyond the Top 10 by Position lists.

Originally posted on B3: Big, Bald and Beautiful:

The Top 100 is coming out Friday night (In case you haven’t seen all the plugs, here’s one more — 9 p.m. ET, MLB.com and MLB Network). For the past week and change we’ve been building the excitement by revealing our Top 10 by Position lists.

With all of those lists, there are, of course, more than 10 guys who interest us or who have bright futures. Some lists are deeper than others, but even on the weakest (1b?), there are guys worth talking about who will undoubtedly be on our organizational Top 30 lists (That’s right, we’re expanding those from 20 to 30).  So I thought it’d be fun to add on a few extra names to consider for each of our positional lists.

This isn’t necessarily the prospect who is No. 11, so don’t draw any conclusions like that. This is more like a look at a…

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1/28/15-Something Current–Dodgers Caravan/Bank of America-by Jon SooHoo,Juan Ocampo, Patrick Gee and Jessica Sterling/LA Dodgers

MLB.com Blogs Usher:

Dodgers Photog Blog shares some outstanding photos from the team’s 12th annual Community Service Caravan, Pitching in the Community.

Originally posted on Dodgers Photog Blog:

Long Beach Rescue Mission Visit with Justin Turner, Kenny Landreaux and Matt Luke by Jon SooHoo

Los Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue MissionLos Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue Mission

Downytown Women’s Center in Los Angeles with Al Ferrara and Dennis Powell by Juan OcampoLADwc1LADwc2LADwc3LADwc4LADwc5LADwc6LADwc7LADwc8LADwc9LADwc10LADwc11LADwc12

Project Angel Food in Hollywood with Lee Lacy and Tim Leary by Jessica Sterling20150127_2576_1000px20150127_2585_1000px20150127_2627_1000px20150127_2658_1000px20150127_2668_1000px20150127_2686_1000px20150127_2719_1000px20150127_2720_1000px20150127_2773_1000px

Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena with Al Downing and Steve Yeager by Patrick Gee

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Odds and ends

MLB.com Blogs Usher:

In his blog, MLB Network’s Jim Kaat discusses a number of topics in the news like DeflateGate, the pitch clock, and Ernie Banks. Make sure you’re following Kaat’s Korner!

Originally posted on Kaat's Korner:

A few things have popped up in the sports news lately and they have hit my hot button!

As a media person as well as a former professional athlete, I am blessed to have a unique advantage in some of the “shenanigans” that go on in sports. The much-ado-about-nothing story that slightly deflated footballs were used in the AFC Championship Game game is an example of the people responsible for airing this coverage on TV and writing about it failing to do sufficient homework.

I tried to approach my job as a broadcaster the same as I did when I was a player. Be prepared. Do the homework and research necessary to be accurate, honest and objective. Unless you have been living under a rock and not paying attention to what goes on behind the scenes in sports, you have missed the fact that teams in all sports — both professional…

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Memories of Mr. Cub

Mark Newman:

Saddened to hear we lost the great Ernie Banks. Losing MLB legends always hits so hard because they are so loved by so many. An official guestbook blog has been created so you can leave any memories of Mr. Cub and your condolences. cubs.mlblogs.com

Originally posted on Memories of Mr. Cub:

The Chicago Cubs join with fans in mourning the passing of Ernie Banks, the greatest player in team history, at the age of 83 on Friday. Please share your memories of “Mr. Cub” and any condolences in the comments below.

WrigleyMarquee“Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time,” said Tom Ricketts, Chairman of the Cubs. “He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I’ve ever known.

“Approachable, ever optimistic and kind hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good-hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie’s life in the days ahead.”

Inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1977…

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